UNLEASHING "the dogs of war" certainly seemed to do the trick for Wharfedale last Saturday.

They beat South Leicester 28-25 to notch their first home win of the season in National League Two North, and, despite fellow members of the bottom three, Sheffield and Otley, also winning, the vibes were positive at The Avenue.

Wharfedale went into the game nine points from safety, and they are now seven points shy of salvation.

On a day when all of his players responded to his battle cry, head coach James Doherty said: "If we had lost we would have been ten points from safety."

It was one of those afternoons when a big hit in defence was just as telling and just as motivating as a co-ordinated move in attack, and Doherty added: "There were five key moments in the game for us.

"Tom Davidson, who had an outstanding game at full back, turned over possession for us for Oli Cicognini's first try, which also involved Tom Barrett, Tom Davidson and Robbie Davidson.

"We were playing on the front foot and the crowd got behind us.

"Many of our players know what that is like, but some don't, and when Adam Howard tackled their winger just after he caught the ball on the restart, it got one of the biggest cheers of the afternoon.

"Cicognini's second try, was a superb team score, and involved Barrett, Cicognini and Kieran Frost.

"It was fast and loose rugby but it was accurate and was delightful to watch.

"We showed great character, which I said a few weeks ago that we have, and I am still backing us to stay up, but we had to show great composure at the end of the game to win it.

"We had to survive a five-metre scrum, from which we won a penalty, and then we kicked for touch and got a catch and drive from the line-out."

Next up for Wharfedale on Saturday is a trip to Hinckley, who lead the table on points difference from Tynedale.

Doherty said: "Hinckley are a very difficult team to beat and they haven't got any superstars, but they are well coached and well organised."

He added: "We are unlikely to have Josh Burridge until the new year.

"He has got over his hamstring trouble, but now has a foot injury and will have to battle for his place when he is fit."